Fact, Fiction and Analysis of Trump’s Executive Action on Immigration

Fact: The order prevents citizens, including refugees, of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the country.

Fact: The seven countries are based on a bill signed by President Obama in December 2015 that denied visa waivers to citizens of those countries, as well as to those who had traveled to one of them over the past five years.

Fiction: The order is a Muslim Ban. It temporarily applies to approximately 8.122% of the world’s Muslim population. It also applies to any practitioners of Judaism, Christianity, Scientology or Pastafarianism who are citizens of the aforementioned countries.

Trump’s executive action was poorly executed. Although it is not necessarily a Muslim ban in name or practice, it is offensive. The entire order, and especially the inclusion of American green card holders as well as current visa-holders, has made for bad optics and worse policy; the results of which will likely be increased radicalization and a more negative perception of the United States abroad. Border security is important. Vetting immigrants and refugees is important. Yet Trump’s actions are too broad and will do more harm than good. It is in a Facebook post that Lebanese immigrant to Canada and Cornell alum Gad Saad analyzes this issue with practicality and reason.

“At the basis of a country’s immigration policy is the recognition that a country has the right to pursue its interests first and whenever it wishes to be altruistic and humane, this is instantiated without ever risking the danger of its citizens and/or its cultural values. A country does not need to cede an inch of its sense of security. It does not need to place a single of its citizens at risk. As such, it is unclear how to strike the right balance between suicidal empathy (and associated faux-liberal platitudes) and ill-informed xenophobic rigidity. But somewhere between these two end points of the continuum lies the optimal policy. Those who wish to find that balance are valuable members of this great debate. Those who exist on the two endpoints are enemies of liberty in their idiosyncratically dogmatic ways.”

It would be refreshing to see more people on both sides of the aisle exchange their “dogmatic ways” for understanding and compromise. Trump was wrong to have issued this executive order. Yet his concerns are the concerns of many Americans, and they are not entirely unsubstantiated.